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Not for the first time Stephen A. Smith has come out with comments on First Take that have caused a stir. Remember his comments about hockey? Or the Shohei Ohtani controversy? Well, this time around its Jaylen Brown who was at the receiving end of some hot claims by Smith, leading Isiah Thomas to jump in. As the internet feud between Smith and Thomas brews, Brown has come out and questioned Smith on his own.

It all started on Friday when Smith claimed he received a text from an NBA source, saying that Brown was not marketable. Apparently, according to the said source, it wasn’t that he was underrated. Rather, the Celtics’ second-best scorer was just not liked, because of his “I-am-better-than-you attitude.”

Post this, on Sunday we saw a strong reaction coming in from Isiah Thomas, trying to defend Brown, tweeted, “I have been a friend, mentor, and advisor to @FCHWPO since he was a student at UC Berkeley he is 100 percent marketable and before you slander his name @stephenasmith tell your source to put their name on it or don’t speak on it. Let it be known.”

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Soon after this, Jaylen Brown asked Smith to reveal his sources that question his “marketability”. He took to X, to share a video from the segment of the show, writing, “State your source”.

Similar to his comments about Brown, back in 2021 Smith questioned the marketability of MLB’s two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, simply because he didn’t speak English. Smith had said, “When you talk about an audience gravitating to the tube or to the ballpark … I don’t think it helps that the No. 1 face is a dude that needs an interpreter.” Smith had to eventually apologize following a backlash online.

Smith has been known for his outlandish claims on First Take. Last year on the show he asked guest Michael Kay which New York team would be the next to win a championship. When Kay replied with New York Rangers, Smith replied with a “Oh, Lord,” while First Take host, Molly Qerim said, “They don’t count.”

Smith further added, “The only thing I know about hockey is that the puck is black.” Talking about rubbing players the wrong way, back in 2015, Smith called out Marshawn Lynch for his behavior during Super Bowl Media Day, where he repeatedly said, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” This led to Smith labelling his behavior as “disgraceful and embarrassing” and said he should be fined $25,000 a day.

Yet these incidents appear to be quite less controversial from what he has said on the show. From his stance on domestic violence where he said, “let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” to asking Stephen Curry’s wife Ayesha “to be mindful” of her behavior online, Smith has garnered a lot attention over the years. And this time it is no different.

His comments around Brown come right at the time when Celtics are just one game away from going ahead to the NBA Finals. They just have one more game on Monday that decides this future for them. The Boston side is already 3-0, and it looks like they might as well go for a clean sweep against the Indiana Pacers at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Brown is holding the team on his shoulders. He does what others can’t, and probably that’s why he’s an indispensable part of the C’s. In his playoffs performance, he’s averaging 24.7 points per game off 54.5 shooting in the initial parts. He’s been saving the day for the Celtics continuously, by scoring 26 points in Game 3, 40 points in Game 2, and 24 points in Game 1. Yet, Smith did not hold back from sharing his opinion.

Stephen A. Smith hits back at Jaylen Brown

Again, it all began on air when Smith said this on air: “It’s not so much that he’s underrated, it’s that he’s just not liked because of his, ‘I am better than you,’ attitude. He knows it. It’s the same reason he is not as marketable as he should be. That’s what an NBA source just sent me.”

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After getting responses from Thomas and Brown, he wasn’t one to stay quiet. Considering how opinionated Smith is, he jumped right back into the feud. The 56-year-old posted his side of the story. He was quick to shut down any accusations and directed the matter to something that seems to be a theme in Smith’s life of late. His first response went to Isiah Thomas. He wrote: “What’s unfortunate is that YOU — who’s known me for decades — would choose to go on X to express whatever dissent you feel instead of calling me directly. But I get it. It’s a pattern several folks have used vs me recently, suddenly forgetting the communication we’ve always had.”

Right after this came Brown’s response we read above. Of course, Smith did not hold back here too. He responded by saying that he’s not going to reveal his sources, and that he was just reading what the source said on his show. In a long tweet, he wrote: “First off, that’s not happening. It’s journalism. Not revealing sources. Secondly, if you continue to watch the segment, I completely disagreed with them — as did Kendrick Perkins.”

Smith further added, “The point we were actually discussing is how under appreciated you are and why that may be, which is why I read the quote. I even brought up how socially conscious you are, and how that may not be liked, knowing you’re a good brother. Also, that you’re a $300M man and you deserve it. But that doesn’t mean naysayers don’t get heard. That comes with the territory.”

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Well, to be honest, getting criticized is pretty common for Brown. He is known to shrug off any and almost all negativity that comes his way, even when they’re NBA snubs. He believes he doesn’t really have time to meander through these comments, and his focus is consistently on winning the title. And while he might not be as marketable in the eyes of some, people still do talk about him for his incredible display of athleticism and leading his team to the Finals (almost).

But this time around, the comments probably did not sit well with Brown. Be it an extension to what Thomas started against Smith or just the fact that he is under pressure to win the title, people are glad that he stood up for himself against the veteran.